Ellen and Tom Frens of Wauwatosa said yes to hosting a young man named *Juan from August to October of 2017. This hosting was going to be different from their previous two hostings, though, because Juan was coming from El Salvador and came to Safe Families through a connection with Healing the Children, an organization that provides donated, life-changing medical attention to children in need from around the world.
Even though they didn’t have all the details ironed out, and unexpected circumstances arose, Tom and Ellen knew it was right for them to “say yes” to welcoming this stranger into their lives. They learned to hold plans loosely and trust God through the adjustments.
Ellen and Tom took turns staying overnight with him at Children’s Hospital during his surgery and recovery. Ellen said, “He was a real trooper. We had some special times together, even under some pretty tough situations.”
Because they said “yes” to welcoming Juan, the Frens family now has an open invitation and home awaiting them them in El Salvador. They get whatsapp messages and photos every week from Juan and his mom, keeping connected.
Ellen had some wise words for anyone considering becoming a host family:
“There is a network of Safe Families who are all doing this job together. If you aren’t the host family, you can be a support to the host family. We drew on the support and practical help from other Safe Family families when we needed to, and it was awesome to share this young man with others. We were all blessed to have him in our lives. It was good to offer help in terms of accepting the placement, but also vital to ask for help when we needed it.
Sometimes you accept a stranger into your lives because you want to ‘be the hands and feet of Jesus.’ But on more than one occasion I was reminded of Jesus telling me ‘I was a stranger, and you welcomed me in.’ In other words, the child was being Jesus to me… As I held one of the kids’ hands during the night in one placement, I asked myself, “Who is touching whom here?'”